I was hard at work on my book last week - totally engrossed in my writing - when my sweetie Chris Lester yelled upstairs to me something about somebody winning best... blah,blah,blah. I couldn't really hear him as my mind was focused elsewhere and as he often says, "I'm deaf as a haddock." So, when I came downstairs to see what the fuss was about, he told me that I'd been chosen "Best of Concord - Best Yoga Instructor" by The Hippo. I was like "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Holy crap, I loved Diff'rent Strokes when I was a kid (sorry I digress).
I was taught by my mom to be a polite kid. When someone says or does something nice, it's my natural instinct to say Thank You - to let them know that I appreciated their kind gesture. So when I got the surprise news about the whole "Best of" thing, my first thought was, "Geez, I should say thank you to whoever it was that voted for me." My second thought was, "Yeah, but remember what happened last time you did that?"
Long story short is, the last time I was voted - Concord "Best of" - the Hippo Press called me to say congratulations and then asked me about running a thank you ad in their NH Best Of's magazine. I consulted my business mentor at the time and he thought it was a good idea. When I met with their marketing lady, I sat with her for over an hour explaining to her why this was so weird for me, as a yoga teacher to even win such a thing.
I told her that I've never asked a single person to vote for me, so how I won is totally beyond me. Plus, the whole idea of any one yoga teacher being the "best" is kind of silly. I mean, I'm not even sure what the criteria is for that kind of thing. I explained to her that I was really hesitant and uncomfortable about acknowledging the "best-of" publicly. I told her about the whole yoga, no competition and ego stuff and she assured me that she would create something tasteful - a little thank you to the voters. We also planned a few follow ups that would highlight my schedule and some special events I had coming up. Simple and to the point I thought and I let it go.
Until, it got back to me that a few people in the yoga community were talking shit about the whole "Best of" thing. I was floored when I found out and I'd be lying if I didn't say that at the time, it really hurt my feelings. I'm not going to get into the who's and what's of it because it's in the past and it no longer matters - but what did matter is here I was again, right now, hesitating to say thank you because I feared that my intentions might once again be misunderstood. I was letting my past experience of Fear - get in the way of my present experience of Love.
I sat with that for a bit and then remembered that I have the opportunity in every moment to choose Love over Fear. I came to the conclusion that it was kind of ridiculous that I was afraid to show Love - that I was nervous about saying thank you and publicly acknowledging that some really sweet people not only took the time to vote but even thought to write my name down - because I was afraid that it might be judged as "unyogic" to do so? Again, I had myself another -"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" moment.
So I sat down, got quiet, had a little chat with God and my Spiritual Team and within moments two things happened. First, I heard the lyrics to a song by Cloud Cult float through my head - "You've come too far to care what they say. Now you're the only thing in your way." Next, I heard my spiritual mom Marianne saying to me - "There's nothing enlightened about playing small, Karen" and I almost bust out laughing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the famous Marianne Williamson quote - here it is in its entirety:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
It became real clear to me that I couldn't let my fear of what others might think, stop me from following my own heart. If my acknowledging the "best of" thing was going to ruffle some feathers, so be it. What people think of me is ultimately none of my business and the people who truly know me - understand who I am and what I'm about. Those who don't like me or get me... well, just remember my previous blog post - If Everyone Likes You, You're Doing It Wrong.
So, in the end, I decided to trust my own gut instinct and post a little thank you on Facebook and of course say something here, to you guys - my beloved yoga community. I hope the message is received with the intention in which I sent it - to humbly say thank you, that I love you like crazy and if I could vote for "Best of" yoga students - you can sure as shit bet that The Questies would be my number 1 pick!!
As my friend Kasey wrote to me, "I'm so happy your yoga students had the chance to express the way they feel about you!" I hope you all know how I feel right back! I adore you and it's truly an honor and a privilege to share yoga with so many beautiful people. Blessings and love to each of you. Your support and kindness means so much. xo